healthy ‘but failing

THE commercial property market is the healthiest it has been since the financial crisis, but developers should also focus on the rapidly rising trends for serviced offices and outsourced operations, according to the managing director of a storage and delivery company.

A recent Lambert Smith Hampton report showed office investment in the regions climbed 22 per cent last year, and the North – rather than London and the South East – is showing the strongest growth.

In Leeds city centre alone, construction began on almost half a million square feet of new offices. And Steve Folwell, managing director of Lovespace, said with the highest level of investment flooding into UK office-building since 2007, businesses will benefit from the surge in commercial property investment.

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But he said: “None of the new developments in the centre of Leeds will be completed until next year, leaving small businesses to compete for prime office space and driving costs up to a new headline this year of £27 per square foot per annum.

“Evidence shows that the growth in commercial property investment lags behind the number of start-ups and small businesses registering with Companies House, currently rising at a record level with 760,000 new small firms registered since 2010.”

He said that to manage this resultant demand, flexible working, open plan offices and co-working spaces have all entered the mainstream. To find solutions to the high costs and the shortage of space, businesses now look to digital platforms to find alternative work spaces.